I've about decided that I don't like the idea of "balance." A balanced diet, "fair and balanced" news, balancing work and family. The word makes it sound as if living well is a matter of walking a tightrope or perching on the head of a pin, giving precisely the right amount of attention to every little thing so that things don't get out of, well, balance.

It is true that things get out of balance, that we lose our footing or feel wobbly or precarious, but I am not sure that the answer is to walk a tightrope.

I like the idea of "integration" better. We integrate family, work, healthy habits, spiritual nourishment, play, intellectual growth into our lives, we don't put them into a pie chart. We make choices that are based on the whole person and not just one aspect - or sometimes for the whole family and not just one member. Sure, sometimes everyone needs a turn. Everything has its season.  And everything works together.

But if living a "whole" life is like walking on a tightrope, making sure each part balances out the other parts or is somehow in opposition to the other parts, then I think it will be a lot more stressful.

Semantics, I suppose. But I find the distinction useful. Hope you do, too.